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California’s unemployment rate declines, north state numbers remain high

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Updated: 1/24 2:20 pm

California’s unemployment rate decreased to 8.3% in December 2013, according to data released by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) today. Although the state decrease is encouraging, the unemployment rate in north state counties remain well above the state average.

The state’s unemployment rate was 8.5% in November 2013. From December 2012 to December 2013, the survey showed an increase of 235,000 jobs in the golden state.

The U.S. unemployment rate decreased to 6.7 percent in December as well.

The data, collected from two separate surveys, shows nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 13,600 during December for a total gain of 922,500 jobs since February 2010. Construction, manufacturing, information and other services reported job declines over the month.  Professional and business services saw the largest gain with an increase of 8,400 jobs while manufacturing jobs posted the largest decrease of nearly 6,000 jobs.

Despite the drop in unemployment in the state, counties in the north state showed unemployment numbers higher than the current state rate. Arguably the most alarming numbers came from Colusa County which, according to the EDD, showed an unemployment rate of 20.5%, the second highest rate in California behind Imperial County (22.5%).

Both Butte and Shasta Counties showed unemployment rates of at least 9%. Tehama County’s unemployment rate registered just above 10%, nearly 12% in Plumas County, 10.6% in Modoc County, 10.7% in Del Norte County, 12.5% in Siskiyou County, 11.1% in Trinity County, 11.3% in Glenn County, 14.5% in Sutter County and 10.1% in Lassen County.  

Shelia Stock, a research analyst with the EDD, said its not unusual for the smaller, more rural counties to have higher unemployment rates, but what is more important is the overall trend of those rates. 

"In general, the rise and fall of unemployment rates in these counties coincides with the state numbers," said Stock. "Shasta County's current unemployment rate is 9%, but that number has been on the steady decline the last few years." 

Stock said the higher number in rural counties can also be attributed to the loss of jobs in seasonal based industries. 

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